2019.09.16 11:00

Palestinians hope for Vilnius office, ask for Lithuania's assistance

BNS 2019.09.16 11:00

The Palestinians are hoping to have an office in Vilnius and are asking Lithuania for assistance. Meanwhile, Palestinian Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Amal Jadou said in an interview with BNS that Palestine would like to see other intermediates, including the EU, take part in negotiations with Israel after US President Donald Trump has taken a pro-Israeli stance in the conflict.

"The plan is still to have a mission in Vilnius, but the resources are not available," said Jadou.

The Palestinian diplomat raised the issue during a meeting with Lithuanian Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Darius Skusevičius last week, and also said there are plans to ask the Vilnius authorities for assistance.

"Usually what Palestine gets from receiving countries is support, sometimes in the format of providing a building or helping with the cost management to start an office" in the next two years, said Jadou.

The Palestinians voiced their plans to open their mission in Lithuania back in 2013. Meanwhile, Lithuania opened an office in Ramallah in the same year.

Lithuania has not recognized Palestine's statehood, therefore, a Palestinian representation would have a lower status than an embassy, and would probably be called Palestine's office for relations with Lithuania.

A one-state solution?

Jadou visited Vilnius and Kaunas and says she's grateful to the Lithuanian government for sticking to the EU's common position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but also asked for a tougher response to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's plans to annex the Jordan Valley in the West Bank.

According to Jadou, the move would bury hopes for a two-state solution. The diplomat also said there's a growing position among the Palestinians to change tactics and move to a civil rights movement, instead of demanding statehood.

"If Israel really wants to stay as Israel, then it will have to accept a state of Palestine. But if Israel is not interested in that, then we are moving into an apartheid regime first, then we are moving into a civil rights movement where the majority of the Palestinians will ask for their rights because we cannot live as third- or fourth-class citizens in a country and we cannot continue to be persecuted and subjugated if we are a majority," Jadou said.

"And then eventually maybe in ten years or in 15 years we are going to have a president of that country, no matter what the name of the country will be then, by the name of Mohammed. Who would have imagined some years ago that the president of the United States would be an African-American? But it happened," she said.

US President Donald Trump has taken a very pro-Israeli stance in recent years, and the Palestinians would like to see other countries acting as intermediaries in the negotiations, she said, including the EU, UN, Russia, China, or perhaps other Arab countries.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu vowed last week to annex the Jordan Valley and Jewish settlements in the West Bank, if he's re-elected on September 17.

The Jordan Valley covered two-thirds of the West Bank's territory.